If it’s Monday, this must be Redding
Day one is complete and it was BRUTAL! We covered 300 miles in 8 hours of driving.
The start was very exciting. As the oldest car in the event, we were assigned car # 1 and were the first to depart the San Francisco Fairmont, waved off by the Italian Vice Consul in San Francisco.
We turned north on Van Ness, left on Lombard and within minutes were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on an beautifully clear and Sunny day. In the morning, we covered 160 miles (averaging almost 20 mpg!) to get to our lunch in Williams. The road noise is really loud, but the wind noise is deafening. Even worse is the constant flow of 200 degree air mixed with some burnt oil billowing into the cockpit from the engine compartment because there is no firewall. It is INTENSELY HOT. Driving this car feels like stoking coal for a huge steam locomotive. I would estimate the temperature at our seats to be approximately 150 degrees for the duration of our drive. Our legs and arms felt almost burned. We were so dehydrated, we drank at least 8 bottles of water (and a delicious bottle of Mexican Coca Cola–the one with real sugar!). No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t drink enough to satiate my intense thirst.
The Rally performed like a champ and delivered us to our lunch and dinner destinations without any drama. It handled winding country roads and 80 mph amidst the big rigs on Highway 5 without complaint. The afternoon drive, however, took us on some much rougher roads which together with wind advisory-level cross winds were knocking us around like a ping pong ball in a washing machine. The scenery was beautiful, but I was eager to get to our final destination in Redding. When we arrived, we cleaned the bugs off the headlights and wind screens, checked and cleaned the fuel filters, replaced about 16 oz. of differential oil we have lost over the last two days, and checked to make sure all the bits that were supposed to be on the car were still there. It appears we only lost a threaded cap to one of the hood latches (which we can get by without for the remainder of the event).
Several of our fellow participants retired today, including the #2 car, the 1928 Bugatti driven by the two Martins from England. They get to finish the event in an air-conditioned rental car. I’m SOOOOOO jealous. The cold shower in our hotel at the end of the day may have been my best shower EVER!
We are back in our room after a banquet dinner with all the participants. It’s 9:30pm and I can barely keep my eyes open. We are going to sleep SO WELL tonight.